April, 2009 Archive

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

black bread

slicing the black bread

It is ridiculous to think that on a site where I have shared twenty-nine bread recipes that I have yet to tell you about my favorite bread. Way to hold out Deb, right? I mean what were the other breads, just teasers? Well, yes.

black bread is the ingredient-est
some black bread dry ingredients

I’m not sorry, though, because my favorite bread contains perplexing things like chocolate, bran, molasses, shallots and fennel seeds, things that any sane person would know are completely insane to intentionally put in the same place. It has seventeen ingredients, which also goes far to explain why I don’t make it more often. (Remember, I’m the person who ran out of cinnamon making cinnamon rolls; do you actually think I can be counted on to have seventeen things at once?) Put all of that together and you’ll see why I know this bread is a hard sell.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, April 26, 2009

big crumbs + small pretzels in oklahoma

stools

Well that was fun! Alex and I arrived at the ranch Friday afternoon after a shockingly non-grueling travel experience (save the 10-minute pat down I received at La Guardia because of this newfangled thing called underwire. Really!) and at least an hour and a half in the car of me going “ooh horsies!” “and cows!” “neeeigh! mooo!” “ooh dirt roads!” and Alex mumbling something like “my god this is going to be a long drive.”

We let ourselves into The Lodge and hot damn, people — I don’t want to say that the photos don’t do it justice as the photos are just the loveliest, but it does not compare to walking into a kitchen the size of Manhattan (seriously, you could fit our bedroom in just the pantry). We spent a good part of last week marveling over how much bigger our new apartment feels (having a whole 30 percent more space than our old one, I think) and I’m pretty sure The Lodge is mocking us.

cowboy alexi'm probably wearing this backwards

We immediately made ourselves at home, trying on the cowboy gear and testing out each and every one of the sofa’s sit-abilities (verdict: all plush and delicious). We then fastened our belongings to the end of a stick, hitched up our hiking boots and started on our way to our room at the end of the house, arriving just as the sun went down. Okay, I exaggerate slightly but I sure do like Oklahoma’s idea of “personal space” (and also “unpacked boxes” but let’s not go there, all right?).

the view

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 23, 2009

buttermilk ice cream

buttermilk ice cream

In the last week, we’ve made not-so-subtle hints about buns in ovens, cravings and peas in pods so it’s an only natural transition to ice cream, whether or not you eat it with sweet grape pickles.

I’m horribly overdue to finally dish out the recipe for Claudia Fleming’s incredible buttermilk ice cream — she of the scones, the gingerbread and the sandies — something I promised in January and have been going on about since December, when a friend sent me home with a pint she’d made. This stuff is perfection — all of the elements of a great vanilla ice cream with an extra tang that keeps it from being, well, “vanilla”.

Buttermilk is a funny thing. I can’t remember my mother using it once growing up and when I started baking more, was horrified by the stuff, which smells and taste a lot like the curdled milk that it is. How wrong is that? But now I love it. I mean, I haven’t taken to drinking a glass of it warm like a certain cooking instructor told me his elderly mother does — yeesh! — but when I smell it, I think of biscuits and cakes and muffins and I like it. So an ice cream that magnifies this deliciousness was not meant to last long in our apartment.

buttermilk ice cream

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

pasta with favas, tomatoes and sausage

pasta with favas and sausage

I wish I could tell you that the last meal cooked in the first Smitten Kitchen was a triumph, a fitting coda to four-plus years in a sun-drenched Manhattan kitchen with enough space to put everything away (not that I’m pointing fingers or anything, new kitchen) and space enough for two people (and at least one growing midsection) to settle comfortably within it. Alas, that was not the case.

blanching fresh favas

Instead it was prepared in the evening (when even the skylight couldn’t be taken advantage of), in kind of rushed (as in, “why am I cooking dinner when I should be packing things, or pretending to pack things while actually reading the internet?”) and was less of a “I’ve always wanted to make this” and more of a “if we’re packing up the kitchen tomorrow, let’s get on last meal in tonight.” Ah, the glamor! But isn’t this so often what weekday night cooking is about?

Continued after the jump »

Friday, April 17, 2009

pickled grapes with cinnamon and black pepper

pickled grapes

Wow, people, just wow. I expected a few baby squish, cow country and dishwasher-crazed compatriots out there to squeal with excitement when we shared our news but nothing, nothing like this. You are the nicest group of readers a girl could ever hope for and you make it so much fun to share bits of our lives, and tiny kitchen, with you. Thank you.

purple and black grapes

So when you tell people you done got knocked up, the first question they ask is when are you due (September 22nd, but that’s the fourth date we’ve been given so I don’t get too attached to it), followed by how are you feeling (pretty darn good, thank you, but I think I need another nap) and then whether it’s a boy or a girl (think we’ll leave it as a surprise), if you have morning sickness (um, no, not a lick, please don’t hate me) and then if you’re craving anything weird, like pickles and ice cream.

The problem is, my cravings of pickles and ice cream are what health insurance companies call a preexisting condition, as in, nice try but we’re unimpressed. Heck, we’ve told more than one person that we’re moving to the East Village just to be closer to The Pickle Guys, and the smart ones knew that we weren’t joking. (Other food-related reasons: proximity to pirogis, two farmers markets, one Trader Joes, my friend Molly, who makes killer dry-rubbed ribs and quite possibly the best homemade doughnut I’ve ever had at Back Forty on Avenue B. It’s evil, I tell you.)

black and purple grapes

Continued after the jump »